Browse Prior Art Database

Genes and environment in language acquisition : a study of early vocabulary and syntactic development in twins

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000128114D
Original Publication Date: 1998-Dec-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Sep-14
Document File: 4 page(s) / 18K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Ganger, Jennifer B: AUTHOR [+3]

Related Documents

http://theses.mit.edu:80/Dienst/UI/2.0/Describe/0018.mit.theses/1998-206: URL

Abstract

The goal of this thesis is to explore the contributions of heredity and environment to language development using the twin method. This method consists of comparing monozygotic (MZ) twins to dizygotic (DZ) twins to see if MZs have a more similar course of development. Two major aspects of language development are examined: vocabulary and syntax.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 37% of the total text.

Page 1 of 4

 This record is the front matter from a document that appears on a server at MIT and is used through permission from MIT. See http://theses.mit.edu:80/Dienst/UI/2.0/Describe/0018.mit.theses/1998-206 for copyright details and for the full document in image form.

Genes and Environment in Language Acquisition: A Study of Early Vocabulary and Syntactic Development in Twins

by

Jennifer B. Ganger
B.A., Linguistics University of Michigan, 1992 Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive Science

at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

September 1998
SIGNATURE OF author: [[signature omitted]]

Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences

August 24, 1998

CERTIFIED BY: [[SIGNATURE OMITTED]]

Steven Pinker Professor of Cognitive Science Director, McDonnell-Pew Center for Cognitive Neuroscience Thesis Co-supervisor
Kenneth Wexler
Professor of Psychology and Linguistics Thesis Co-supervisor ACCEPTED BY: [[SIGNATURE OMITTED]]

Gerald Schneider Professor of Neuroscience Chair, Department Graduate Committee ARCHIVES MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY LIBRARIES SEP 21 1998

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Page 1 Dec 31, 1998

Page 2 of 4

Genes and environment in language acquisition : a study of early vocabulary and syntactic development in twins

Genes and Environment in Language Acquisition: A Study of Early Vocabulary and Syntactic Development in Twins

by

Jennifer B. Ganger

Submitted to the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences August 24, 1998 in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive Science

ABSTRACT

The goal of this thesis is to explore the contributions of heredity and environment to language development using the twin method. This method consists of comparing monozygotic (MZ) twins to dizygotic (DZ) twins to see if MZs have a more similar course of development. Two major aspects of language development are examined: vocabulary and syntax.

The development of vocabulary in 43 MZ and 33 same-sex DZ English-speaking twins was studied -via parent report. The rate and content of the first 100 or so words in children's productive vocabularies were examined. MZ twins had more similar ages at reaching several milestones of vocabulary growth, more similar overall rates of vocabulary growth, more similar spurts in vocabulary growth, and more similarity in actual words and categories of words they produced than DZ twins, suggesting heritability in early word learning. However, the effects of environment were also prominent in vocabulary development, dwarfing effects of heritability.

The development of first word combinations and of first overregularizations of the past tense rule " add -ed " (e.g., goed for went) were also studied by parent report to examine the contributions of heredity and environment to the development of syntax. Both the age of producing first word combinations and the rate of producing combinations were much m...